2012-06-13 Vatican RadioCardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, Archbishop of Durban, South Africa, is one of the participants at the ongoing 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin.
Speaking to Emer McCarthy just a couple of days from the start of the Congress on Sunday, Cardinal Napier speaks of his feelings for the Church in Ireland and for Ireland as a whole as, he says, he spent time in the country during his years of training as a Franciscan and feels a great affinity for Ireland.
So, Cardinal Napier says coming here " was a way of coming and saying: just as Jesus gave us the Eucharist just before he suffered, so I am hoping that the church in Ireland, in all of its suffering, is going to bring the Eucharist back into the lives of the people".
Regarding the feeling on the ground, Cardinal Napier says "I sense there are a couple of things about the response in Ireland: there is a certain cynicism - it's not the right time to have it; there is a certain hopelessness: it's gone so far, can it actually be turned around?".
But so far, he says: "I think there is a sort of a quiet relief that the Congress is taking place and a growing confidence and the trust that this is going to be the start of a new healing process - that's what I am picking up".
Cardinal Napier picks out the Mass on Sunday as a moment of great emotion. "it was the most jouyful celebration, the lead up to it with all the young people and the choirs was wonderful for setting a tone, a tone of celebration".
Right from the beginning, he says, "the apology, the stone with the prayer. All these things show the Church is not hiding away from the problems or hiding the problems away, but making sure that we are speaking and praying within a context and expecially reflecting and deciding on actions within that context".
listen to the interview...